Tony Howden, our horticultural therapist, has worked hard with service users to develop and maintain our therapy gardens at Newton Lodge during these unprecedented times.
Newton Lodge (also known as The Yorkshire Centre for Forensic Psychiatry) is a 90 bed medium secure hospital based at Fieldhead in Wakefield. The service provides care and treatment for women and men with mental health problems and men with a learning disability from across Yorkshire and the Humber.
Tony and the occupational therapy (OT) team are working hard to give people access to this beautiful space in a meaningful way. They’re continually looking at the gardens and the patient population and opening it up to as many people as possible whilst managing risk and, of course, abiding by social distancing.
Alongside the regular horticultural therapy groups, we have 2 risk assessment ‘open space’ sessions where service users use the environment to complete their tools risk assessment with the OTs in a relaxing environment.
There are also walking and exercise sessions. Staff encourage patients to appreciate nature and take part in bird watching, as well as using the gardens for art and photography sessions. The OT team are also looking to develop a relaxation/ mindfulness group using this beautiful space in the next couple of weeks as the weather continues to improve
In lockdown we have had to adapt our approach and are continuously looking at who can access the area and what we can do.